Chocolate Sour Cream Cookies – Flathead Beacon
I grew up enjoying the flavor of yogurt and sour cream in baked goods. The thin and light yogurt pancakes were a childhood favorite that pitted me in eating contests against my dad (I think I won once). Traveling to countries that didn’t care about producing baking powder taught me to associate baking soda with acidic ingredients like buttermilk, yogurt, and sour cream. Once I started baking with them, I couldn’t stop: flatbread, coffee cake, and even the scones I shared earlier this month.
Sour cream in cookies may surprise you if you’re used to flat, crispy, sweet treats and think of sour cream as a nacho and taco condiment, but it’s a fantastic ingredient. It pairs beautifully with bittersweet chocolate, and a dusting of salt complements both flavors.
In terms of cooking chemistry, sour cream does more than enhance flavor. It adds moisture, making cookies softer without thinning the dough as much as a liquid like milk. Its acid not only breaks down gluten in flour into smaller molecules, but also reacts directly with baking soda, creating tender, chewy cookies. Its fat makes cookies richer and smoother, and the dough becomes velvety when the chocolate chips melt in it in the oven.
To take advantage of that texture, I top these cookies with a simple pinch of flaky salt, often looking for a flavored, smoked, or infused pot for a fun twist. You can break up the sweetness by adding a cup of toasted and chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans into the batter. For a silky look, let the cookies cool, drizzle them with chocolate ganache and then sprinkle with salt.
Chocolate and sour cream cookies
Makes about 50 cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream
10 ounces sweet and sour chocolate chips (about 1-1/2 cups)
Puff salt for sprinkling
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. Beat the eggs one by one, then the vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with sour cream and stirring until just combined. Add the chocolate chips. Cover and freeze for 10 minutes.
Shape the cooled dough one tablespoon at a time into a ball, placing it on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining balls, placing them about 2 inches apart, until the sheet is full. Sprinkle each ball of dough with fleur de sel, pushing it lightly into the dough if necessary to make it stick.
Bake at 350°F for 12 to 14 minutes, until cookies are golden brown with set centers. Immediately move the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Scrape the crumbs from the baking sheet and continue baking the remaining batter. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.